want to try a SET but where to start, I have......

A pair of klipsch, I believe they are rated at 94 db.
I have read previous threads on SET, and this is what I got.
The 300b have generally the most bloom, and the 845 run closest to neutral.
The 2a3 usually come in units with anywhere from 2-5 watts

I hope I got most of the facts right.
I would like that SET magic I always here about, can get enough power from a 2a3 unit or would a 845 work better with the 94 db speakers.

I would also like the unit to be intergrated with a remote
Am I asking too much?
Any recommendations would be greatly Appreciated
Thank you for your time
The Decware Zen amps sound wonderful for around $400-$500 used or $700 new at 2-6 watts per channel. Nice start in the SET sound. Many never go further than Decware Zen.
Antique Sound labs AQ1005DT is a nice 300b sarter amp @ 8 watts per channel. Solid performer for between $800-$1000 used. Both are sufficient for a 94dB speaker.
I believe Cary makes some nice integrated SET amps. They'd likely have a beefier power supply than the Decware or ASL Entrope mentions. The power supply plays a critical roll in amplifiers and can make a huge difference in SET designs. I guess it depends upon just how much you want to invest as the SET amps with the better power supplies are going to necessarily cost more. The less expensive designs tend to use smaller power supplies. I think the Cary 300sei goes for around $1800 used - none currently available. You can read the Stereophile Review for it here. I believe there a few other reviews online you can google. Speaker-matching is critical with SET and will certainly make or break the experience. I cannot stress that enough. If at all possible, audtion the matchup with many types of music, particulary the most demanding you are likely to play. You're doing pretty good with the Klipsch's though 94db (Heresys?) is at the lower end of what I would consider for an 8 watt SET, and may be a stretch with some music, and or in a larger room depending upon your expectations. Still, 8 watts should work out fine unless you are really pushing them in a larger space. If the latter I might suggest trying out a push/pull design using the same direct heated tubes you are considering in the SET amps. I had a pair of Wright Mono 10's that were fantastic amps and came very close to a SET sound using a pair of 2a3's putting out 11 watts. In many ways it bested the SET sound, but fell short only in the areas of soundstage dimenstions and overall airiness. Midrange was at least the equal of my SET amps though, and it was no slouch in the areas I mention as less than SET performance. There are other designs that are similar, as the Wrights rarely come up for sale (I just sold mine about a month ago :-( Can't really stear you in one direction there, but don't rule out that option as a better match for 94db Klipsch speakers.

Good luck!

Thanks alot Marco and Entrope, I will look into the amps you have mentioned,
Up until this point I have owned low effiency speakers and never really had a chance to try a SET amp. My tastes are changing an I would like to look into the low power set direction (get up close and personal with the music)
My speaker may change depending on my result
once again thank you for your comments
BTW room is 13 x 16 I believe but it is a douplex so the volume will be staying quite low
Fwiw, you really need to hear a few SET amps & see if the midrange magic outweighs the mushy bass and loss of dynamics, to your ear and with your type of music.
Some folks love them and why some folks would'nt be happy with them.
As mentioned above, some of the lower power push pull amps seem to get overlooked in discussions, but you may find that you prefer them. Much of the midrange magic and not so much of a compromise elsewhere, to my ear, in the systems I've heard, and your mileage may vary.
Good Luck!
Marco- I thought I would put him in less expensively since he is experimenting though I have to agree with the power supply point. The Cary seems a bit much to start with but will certainly supply the SET magic in full range. With the less expensive SETs I found that I give up bass control and some top end to get that fabulous midrange. Also the speaker matching point is well made and perhaps the most critical in making or breaking the pairing of a SET system.

I ran the 8 watt ASL AQ1005dt with 90dB ACI sapphires and it did fine except with orchestral and bass heavy rock. It really shined with Omega TS2's (94dB) and I could play it as loud as I thought practical with just about any music.
i listen to mostly female vocals...or easily listen music like cowboy junkies some jazz.

I have owned a audiomat prelude that was great but really did not drip with midrange magic...

There is a cary 2a3si for sale in my area...any thoughts on this unit?
Thx again

Marco there is also a cary 300sei for sale, what is a good used price, I would like to price check because the asking price seem a bit high
I ran the 8 watt ASL AQ1005dt with 90dB ACI sapphires and it did fine except with orchestral and bass heavy rock. It really shined with Omega TS2's (94dB) and I could play it as loud as I thought practical with just about any music.

Here's an excellent illustration of just how critical synergy is with SET, and that it's not just a numbers game: In contrast to your results with the ACI Saphhires, just yesterday I plugged my Quicksilver 300B SET's into my Soliloquy 5.3's which are a wonderful floorstanding speaker with some authorative bass response that, like the Sapphires, are also rated at 90db sensitivity. My SET amps put out 8 watts at 8 ohms, similar to your AQ's. My experience of my own pairing off was that the SET amps in this case were really not able to handle any bass demands, and when the music got really complex, dynamic and or layered it sounded absolutely horrible. This is a shocking thing to hear coming from what is a fabulous pair of SET amps. Mind you there were some things it could play magnificently, creating a remarkable sense of atmosphere and presence, but those would be offset by other recordings the combo simply could not keep pace with. Now if I'd just purchased those amps, and matched them up with those speakers because the numbers made some sense, I would be setting myself up for some MAJOR dissapointment (I'm not suggesting that you implied this Entrope - just trying to share some experience here). Put those same SET amps with my LaScalas (104db) and they are absolutely wonderful! Those same Soliloquy 5.3's were an outstanding match for my 11 watt push/pull mono 10's, which really isn't that much additional power at all! But it's not SET, it's Push/Pull. The ACI Sapphires you mention are a 2-way monitor speaker. The Sol's are have three drivers to push and have a much larger cabinet with rear porting. Consequently they are moving a lot more air, or rather enough to make it just difficult enough for the SET to fall out of the realms of consideration for these speakers.

Again, the lesson here is do take care in speaker matching, and whenever possible audition with a wide variety of music. It is well worth the investment of your time and care as the righ combination is quite stunning. Another directoin you may want to consider offering similar strengths of SET in some ways with it's own unique spin, are OTL amps. Again, matching those up with the right speakers is critical as well, though perhaps not quite as demanding as the lower powered SET amps.

Italy71 - Current average Bluebook for the 300SEI (non-signature) is $2200. The low price listed is $1500 and the high is $3280. The last one sold for 2910.00. The Signature is a bit more. So I guess my recollection was a bit optimistic.

Of the2A3 tube - that tube is all about midrange! In SET configuration it puts out only about 3.5 watts so with your 94db speakers you are really at the limit if not below. George Wright's 3.5 amps are a great example of that tube well-implemented in SET form, but the weakness there is going to be in the bass department which it just doesn't do that well. Oh, but the payoff in midrange is gold. As for the combination with your speakers, it depends on how loud you want to listen. Female vocals will shine brightly with SET done right. If you are sticking to those speakers I would steer you towards a 300B tube rather than a 2A3. I've had both, and find the 300B to be more versatile and suitable to a greater variety of music. Going to Push/Pull with a direct heated tube will expand that potential even greater and still give you the midrange magic. If you are dedicated to vocals and solo instrumentals, stick with SET. That's my two pennies.

the cary 2a3 si is a 15 watt push pull,
and the 300sei is 2390 USD.
I guess I will have to grind this one over.

the cary 2a3 push pull would have enough power without lossing the liquid midrange would it not?
Thanks again
Hi Carlo - Yes, certainly the push/pull Cary should be fine and likely would posess many similar qualities of the Mono 10's I liked so much. I can't truly give you an authorative opinion on either having not actually heard them, only read the various posts and reviews referring to them. I've owned a couple of Cary Preamps, which I've liked very much, and a good friend owns a modified SLM-70 which he uses to push his Quad 988's. I think they make fine products and their customer service, and overall reputation is excellent. I would definitely consider either amp you mentioned, perhaps leaning a bit towards the 2A3 PP design. The price on the 300sei does not seem out of line given the blue book, though you may be able to get a better deal with some patience, and make a lower offer on this one. There are certainly other options out there as well, but Cary does represent a solid investment in my mind.

Hello Carlo, For the type of music you mostly listen to and the Klipsch speakers, I'd strongly recommend that you also take some non-commercial offer (ie, DIY offer) into consideration. If you don't listen terribly loud or don't have a big listening space, then a really good SE300B amp will do the trick. I have 6SN7/76/300B and 6SN7/27/45 amps from John Hogan and have auditioned these amps with his Klipsch Cornalls and Lascala. This 300B amp ate the AN Quests for dinner in my system and is in the same ballpark with Fi 2A3 monos & Korneff linestage combo (different flavor, that is). For around $1K, I really cannot think of many expensive commercial SETs that can even touch it. The only potential caveat I can see is whether you will like its appearance....I am getting to like them a lot. Other than that, it will probably come down to the matters of voicing and system matching. Regards, TC
I was in your shoes just very recently before deciding on a SET amp for my system. What I found helpful was the following 3-part article by 6moons:

The article lists lots of SET amp manufacturers, SET-friendly speaker manufacturers and also has an interview with the owner of Wavelength Audio - a very well respected SET designer - in which he discusses the three things you need to know when matching a SET amp to speakers.

By the way, I decided on an Art Audio PX25 which is a SET tube somewhat similar to the 300B but superior to it in most respects according to Joe Fratus the owner of Art Audio who also makes a 300B amp. Art Audio amps can be ordered with a volume control making them a single source integrated amp. Another SET manufacturer with lots to choose from including integrated amps is Audion but I caution you that some members here have had terrible servicing issues or shipping damage or suspect product quality issues . . .

Hope this is of some help.
many thanks
tw2-thanks for the recommendation it will look into DIY in my area

kevinzoe- interesting article, what I though would be a simple decision has become quite a bit more...

great information guys, thumbs up

It occured to me that the link to the second and third SET articles at 6moons that I made reference to isn't within the first article so here they are:



I think you'll find articles 2 & 3 more meaningful and helpful.

Happy SET amp hunting . . .
Kevinzoe, the last article has been the most help
Here are some more SET amp manufacturers that also make integrated amps:
* Ayon 300B (300B tube) US$6,700
* Korato Prometheus (211 tube) US$?
* Mastersound 845 Ref Integrated (845 tube)
* Viva 300B or 300P (300B tube)US$6,800 and US$5,800 respectively
* Viva Solista (845 tube) US$10K
* Audion (various models)

Also, lowest to highest powered SET tubes are as follows:
45 (1 watt), 2A3 (3 watts), 300B/PX25 (6-8 watts), 845/211 (20 watts).

Hope this helps.
Regarding the poster that categorzied SET tube amplifiers as suffering from "mushy bass and loss of dynamics". This blanket statement is simply not true; ie, not all SET tube amps suffer from these ills.

A correctly designed SET tube amp using quality interstage, output, and power transformers and with a quality chassis that absorbs resonance has excellent dynamics as well as excellent, defined, and tight bass. This assumes, of course, that the speakers are correctly matched with the amplifier for such things as sensitivity and impedance operating range.

Amps with poor bass and poor frequency response typically have average, at best, transformers and are capacitory coupled with cheap capacitors.

My custom 300B set exhibits none of the ills mentioned. It has great dynamics and wonderful bass as well as the full frequency response range.
A vote for Viva amps, I use the Solista integrated to great effect onto Living Voice speakers. I had a long chat with Kevin scott who makes LV speakers which run at 94db sensitivity as your Klipsch speakers. I was querying whether the 8 Watt welborne monoblocks would do. The answer was that they would for small scale, Jazz, solo singers and chamber music. For large scale orchestral, then 16 to 18 was what you needed, the Viva puts out 17 and does'nt sound strained with any musical form. I think you would argue a similar requirement for your speakers.
I agree with the last post, SET's do not have mushy base when well executed with good transformers. It just is'nt the easiest amplifier design to get right, that means it ain't the cheapest either

I have Wright mono 3.5's 2a3 set amps paired with Klipsch Cornwalls, 99 db sensitivity. The combination is great. Plenty of vloume, dynamics and good bass with unbelievable mids and highs. Klipsch speakers do very well with flea powered amps.

I bet Cowboy Junkies sound great on that bottlehead Cary. What about AV fair like Cowboy Bebop? Anybody hooked it up to a dvd player and tried an action movie?